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Ngoc T. Bui

Ngoc T. Bui

Ngoc T. Bui

Assistant Professor

Phone: (405) 325-4037
Office: Sarkeys Energy Center, T-313
Lab Website

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2014)
University of Connecticut
M.S. Textile Engineering (2007)
Chonnam National University, Korea
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Minor in Organic Chemistry
HoChiMinh City University of Technology, Vietnam

Research Focus

  • Water-energy-environment nexus
  • Sustainable separations
  • Advanced functional materials
  • Membrane materials and processes
  • Nanomaterials and nanotechnology
  • Matters across dynamical interfaces
  • Transport phenomena

Experience and Awards

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Berkeley, CA, 12/2017 to 12/2019
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    Livermore, CA 11/2013 to 05/2017.


The Bui Lab tackles grand challenges facing humanity at the water-energy-environment nexus. At the interface of physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering, we mechanistically study the fundamental physicochemical properties of organic-inorganic hybrid (nano)materials and the transport behaviors of molecules across these multicomponent interfaces. We then develop pragmatic applications of these new materials in water reuse, renewable energy, and environmental remediation. With scientific and engineering principles, we also work toward innovating new technologies for sustainable separations with systems-level assessments, eventually helping transform the future water, energy, and environment landscapes.

The current stage of our research includes the rational design of advanced membranes and adsorbents from nanoscale building blocks and soft/hard materials, energy-efficient desalination systems for the treatment of wastewater from oil and gas industry, and methods for the conversion of pollutants and waste to valuable commodities. With in-house efforts and through collaborations, we will couple theoretical studies with materials synthesis, (in-situ) characterization, membrane/electrode/adsorbent testing techniques, and integrated processes in our research. For more information, please visit our group webpage.

  1. McCutcheon, J.R., Hoek, E.M.V., Bui, N.N., Lind, M.L., Nano-structured Membranes for Engineered Osmosis Applications, International Publication Number WO 2011/060202 A1.
  2. Kim C., Balathanigaimani M.S., Bui, N.N., Moon, H., Yang, K.S., Lee, J.W., Activated carbon with ultra-high specific surface area from corn and Production method thereofKO 10-2008-0085605.
  3. With LLNL, Nanoporous membranes for fast diffusion of […] and small molecules (pending)
  4. With LBNL and UC Berkeley, Multifunctional Separations using […] Membranes (pending)
  1. McCutcheon, J.R., Bui, N.N., Chapter 7: Forward Osmosis, in “Desalination: Water from Water”. Ed. Jane Kucera, Wiley, 2014.
  2. McCutcheon, J.R., Xia, L., Bui, N.N., Chapter 5: Forward Osmosis, in “Desalination 2nd Edition”. Ed. Jane Kucera, Scrivener Publishing LLC, 2019.
  1. Bui N.T., Kang H.M., Teat S.J., Su G.M., Pao C.W., Liu Y.S., Zaia E., Guo J., Chen J.L., Meihaus K.R., Dun C., Mattox T.M., Long J.R., Fiske P., Kostecki R., Urban J.J., A Nature-Inspired Hydrogen-Bonded Supramolecular Complex for Selective Copper Ion Removal from WaterNature Communications, 11, 2020, 3947.
  2. Li Y., Chen C., Meshot E.R., Buchsbaum S.F., Herbert M., Zhu R., McDonald B., Bui N., Jue M.L., Park S.J., Valdez C.A., Hok S., He Q., Doona C.J., Wu K.J., Swager T.M., Fornasiero F., Autonomously Responsive Membranes for Chemical Warfare ProtectionAdvanced Functional Materials, 30, 2020.
  3. Hsu C., Ma C., Bui N., Song Z., Wilson A., Kostecki R., Diederichsen K., McCloskey B., Urban J., Enhanced forward osmosis desalination with a hybrid ionic liquid/hydrogel thermo-responsive draw agent systemACS Omega, 4, 2019, 4296-4303.
  4. Meshot, E., Zwissler D., Bui N., Kuykendall T., Wang C., Hexemer A., Wu K.J., Fornasiero F., Quantifying the hierarchical order in self-aligned carbon nanotubes from atomic to micrometer scaleACS Nano, 11, 2017, 5405-16.
  5. Bui N.N., McCutcheon J.R., Nanoparticle-Embedded Nanofibers in High Permselectivity Thin-Film Nanocomposite Membranes for Forward OsmosisJournal of Membrane Science, 518, 2016, 338-46.
  6. Bui N., Kim S., Meshot E., Penã J., Gibson P., Wu K.J., Fornasiero F., Ultra-breathable and Protective Fabrics with Sub-5nm Carbon Nanotube Pores, Advanced Materials, 28, 2016, 5871-77 – Also featured in public media, e.g. on“Second skin” protects soldiers from biological, chemical agents.
  7. Bui N.N., Arena J., McCutcheon J.R., Proper Accounting of Mass Transfer Resistances in Forward Osmosis: Improving the Accuracy of Model Predictions of Structural ParameterJournal of Membrane Science, 492, 2015, 289-302.
  8. Bui N.N., McCutcheon J.R., Nanofiber Supported Thin-film Composite Membrane for Pressure Retarded OsmosisEnvironmental Science & Technology, 48, 2014, 4129-36.
  9. Bui N.N., McCutcheon J.R., Hydrophilic Nanofibers as New Supports for Thin Film Composite Membranes for Engineered OsmosisEnvironmental Science & Technology, 47, 2013, 1761-9.
  10. Bui N.N., Lind M.L., Hoek E.M.V., McCutcheon J.R., Electrospun Nanofiber Supported Thin Film Composite Membranes for Engineered OsmosisJournal of Membrane Science, 385-386, 2011, 10-19.
  11. Bui N.N., Kim B.H., Yang K.S., Dela Cruz M.E., Ferraris J.P., Activated Carbon Fibers from Electrospinning of Polyacrylonitrile/Pitch BlendsCarbon, 47, 2009, 2538-9.
  12. Kim B.H., Bui N.N., Yang K.S., Dela Cruz M.E., Ferraris J.P., Electrochemical Properties of Activated Polyacrylonitrile/Pitch Carbon Fibers Produced Using ElectrospinningBull. Korean Chem. Soc., 30, 2009, 1967-72.
  13. Kim C., Bui N.N., Yang K.S., Kojima M., Kim Y.A., Kim Y.J., Endo M., Yang S.C., Self-Sustained Thin Webs Consisting of Porous Carbon Nanofibers for Supercapacitors via the Electrospinning of Polyacrylonitrile Solutions Containing Zinc Chloride, Advanced Materials, 19, 2007, 2341-6.
  14. Kim C., Jeong Y.I., Bui N.N., Yang K.S., Kojima M., Kim Y.A., Endo M., Lee J.W., Synthesis and Characterization of Porous Carbon Nanofibers with Hollow Cores through the Thermal Treatment of Electrospun Copolymeric Nanofiber Webs, Small, 3, 2007, 91-95.